Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau on 4 August 2014 announced the plans to ban coal use in Beijing and five other districts by the end of 2020. The purpose of the ban is to fight increasing levels of air pollution in China’s major cities.
The Bureau also decided to prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating.
The decision of banning the use of coal by 2020 comes in addition to the recent decision by Chinese government that environmental protection will be one of the top criteria by which leaders will be judged.
China has been battling the problem of smog in its major cities due to increasing pollutants in air. As a result ppressure is growing on China's central government to clean up the country's polluted environment.
In China, coal accounted for a quarter of Beijing's energy consumption in 2012 and 22 percent of the fine particles floating in the city's air. Motor vehicles, industrial production and general dust also contributed to pollution in the city of 21 million people.
Further coal use is expected to soar in China as the country's population and economy expand. Coal-fired power and heating is a major generator of greenhouse gases and has helped turn China into the world's largest emitter of carbon and other heat-trapping gases.
Thus, in September 2013, Government of China announced Beijing’s Action Plan for Air Pollution Prevention and Control to fight coal pollution by switching to coal-to-gas plants from coal-fired power plants around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
However, the Chinese National Energy Administration reported in July 2014 that coal-to-gas plants would produce higher greenhouse emissions than the limit set by environmental regulators. This can be more dangerous for public health.
When: 4 August 2014